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carosgram

Yes! Exactly! Another notch in Bush's belt of selling America to the highest bidder.

Lisa

Well, you'll be happy (or disturbed) to know that the majority of conservatives (and conservative bloggers) agree with you.

Meira Voirdire

I'm baffled by this, as well. Frankly, it seems so counter to all of his "the arabs are coming! run for your lives!" rhetoric he's been spewing for years now. It's such a dramatic turnaround that I feel like he's got to be up to something.

parodie

No no, Moxie, I'm sure it's part of a bigger plan - see, in a week or so you're going to start hearing about how the United Arab Emirates are a hotbed of terrorism, and so the US needs to preemptively strike and take over...

Carla Hinkle

I must disagree. And I am sorry if this is going to sound offensive or in-your-face, but it IS racism, and ignorance, and is a good example of why many Arabs or Muslims (let's not forget they are not necessarily one and the same) dislike America.

Why should we be more upset that a foreign corporation owned by a government is running the port, than by the billions of dollars in American debt owned by all sorts of foreign countries? THAT is much scarier. And if it is a private foreign company, would that supposedly be better? I would think the US would have much less influence over a private company.

According to a merchant marine captain I heard on NPR yesterday, the Dubai port he worked in was ten times more modern, organized and secure than any American port he'd seen. If people are really so concerned about port security, why not allocate a few of the one TRILLION dollars spent on Iraq to the ports? But that is beside the point.

Let's not dress is up. It is racism. Americans are by and large ignorant of the Middle East and the Muslim world and view all Arabs as potential terrorists, and don't want an Arab company running the port. Despite what the Coast Guard officer and the deputy secretary of the Border Patrol (or something -- sorry I can't exactly remember his title) said on Hardball last night, that this would have NO IMPACT on national security at the ports. The US runs security. The Dubai company would run the commerce. That's it.

I'm sorry if this sounds strident or if this comment is not the place for it. But I get weary of racism and ignorance of the Arab world that is propagated in the US. Moxie, maybe you truly believe that we should have kicked the Brits out of the ports too. But I think you are in an infinitesimal minority.

I am not a fan of Bush, voted against him twice, and generally disagree with every move he's made. But for once, I agree with him: "I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company. I am trying to conduct foreign policy now by saying to the people of the world, 'We'll treat you fairly." '

It is this hysteria of anti-Arab sentiment that gets back to the regular, Joe-on-the-street in Dubai, Damascus, etc etc. No wonder they think badly of us.

(Stepping off soap-box.)

Carla Hinkle

PS, Please read David Brooks' editorial in today's New York Times for a much more eloquent explanation of what I am trying to say.

surcie

I think GWB is full o' bull. Fairness? Since when has his administration been about that? I think there is something else behind this plan. I don't know if it's oil or what. But it's just too fishy.

the patriarch

The Dubai company would not "have control" over our ports, they would be leasing spaces from us. Security would still be handled by the Coast Guard.

Ashley

I think this is a first, Moxie, but I agree with you. I voted for Bush both times, and even though he has done many things I don't agree with, I'm over the edge that he is doing this.

Yes, the UAE may not have control over the security aspects, but i'm sure they will get to know the intricacies about how our security works (all it would take is ONE bad apple). *NO* other citizens but those of our country should be doing this.

Ashley

Peach

My biggest concern is security within hiring practices of the company. And they could have that taken care of, I don't know, but who makes sure that the company itself is hiring trustworthy, non-terrorists? What's to stop a terrorist from crossing into UAE (as we know they don't have as strict border concerns as we might want them to have, nor the same attitude about terrorism as we have) and getting a job with the company and being transferred to one of our ports? Are there measures to prevent that? That's the question I have... and if that's answered, then good, if not, that's a huge concern, I would think.

Monica

As always with this administration, I wonder what the REAL agenda is here. Who's cooperation is this buying, and why?

That being said, ICAM with you...and it's not because of racism (I actually have family in Dubai). It's just that, ideally,American companies should be in charge of all of the aspects of American national security. Not that Americans aren't "gettible" or bribeable, but at least we would have some level of patriotism in our favor.

Jo

I agree with parodie. Hey, who *doesn't* wanna bomb New Jersey?

I think you're right about foreign control of ports -- by ANYONE -- being off, and I think Carla is right that there is for the majority of America, this is all about the racism (because most folks didn't get all het up about it until the Dubai thing). In the end, though, the really unnerving thing is how out-of-keeping this new development is with this administration's PUBLIC practices regarding Arab countries (not ruling out back-room oil deals, oh yeah). I mean, NOW they start accusing the constituency of racism? Whahfuh?

Eh. I've seen enough private internal documents of guvmint Texas oilmen to know they're all best buds with the oil guys in the Middle East. But that's hardly a secret.

Brooklyn Girl

I agree with Carla and David Brooks and (apparently) GWB on this one which terrifies me (the Bush part--Carla seems lovely). It is a weird sort of racism. Based on what I've heard on NPR, it's already the case that the majority of our ports are managed by companies based in other countries. The only thing that's different here is that the country in question has "Arab" as part of its name.

It seems insane to me that so many of the ports are owned by companies based outside the U.S. (suddenly it seems clear why 90% of international cargo coming through these ports is not inspected), but if we're going to change that, we have to change it for everyone--Brits, Danes, and Arabs alike.

the patriarch

The ports are owned by the US. The contracts to manage those ports are owned by various companies, some of them based overseas. It's like a corporation hiring a company to manage one of its facilities.

Moxie

Exactly, patriarch (and I'm flattered that you've taken time from your busy wife-shtupping schedule to comment on my blog). I know the companies don't "have control" of the ports, but they do have a huge amount of control over day-to-day operations. It's the details that I'm worried about. Not the huge shipment of uranium, but the smaller shipments of who-knows-what that won't attract the notice of the Coast Guard but could be easily slipped past an inside person. I just don't think it's good policy to have non-US-based companies getting these contracts.

Carla, I get what you're saying, but I didn't have any idea the contracts for port management were bid out to foreign-controlled companies, and I'm guessing this is the first most Americans have heard of it. That's why no outcry before--we didn't know about it. I'd be just as pissed off if W was up there defending the Brits running day-to-day operations of the ports. And if I heard that another country bid out operations of their ports to foreign-owned companies, I'd think "they're a bunch of chumps."

Is there are a shortage of American-owned companies bidding on port management?

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